hyperlink to the source text in Chinese: 教育父母
Translated by @awfan, proofread by @krizcpec and Sylvia Kirkwood
N.B. This is one of my old articles from eleven years ago. But even in today it still has its relevance, we can therefore see just how important it is to have a civil education that includes educating parents.
Written at 9:33 A.M. on October 16, 2010 in Chengdu
Educating children is a right and proper behavior in the whole society. Yet the following facts demonstrated beyond doubt that some parents are exactly who should be educated, criticized, or even punished by law. On June 22 in the city of Dalian, Jiang Yingxia, an elderly man in his sixties, died because of failing to receive medical treatment in time. The cause of [the delay] was a human wall formed to block traffic by parents of students at Dalian 41st Secondary school who were worried that the noise of vehicles passing by would affect the examinees' performance in examination. Thus the vehicle delivering medicine could not arrive in time and eight minutes of treatment time was wasted. When the vehicle finally got through, some among the parents threw words at the family of the elderly man: "Go ahead! He would have died even if the medicine arrived in time!" It should be pointed out that construction sites that were adjacent to the examination center of Dalian 41st Secondary School had stopped their works, video stores nearby had also turned off their audio. Coincidentally, an incident of a driver beaten up by a group of parents occurred in Shenyang on June 23.
Sure enough I need to speak in defense of the examinees' parents first. Noise pollution nowadays is indeed serious. Whether it is noise during daytime: the vehicle horns, the rumbling construction sites, the sharp noise of interior renovation that can be heard everywhere; or that of disturbing nighttime construction works, ultra-loud playing sounds of nightclubs, these all make the residents miserable. examinees’ parents have been so worried about their children examination performance which would adversely affect their future that they can’t eat well or sleep sound. The problem is, while we have relevant laws and regulations to prevent noise pollution, they are impaired by the common problems that are facing the judiciary sector: corruption and ineffective enforcement. As a result, noise pollution occurred time and again at places where people live, and where examinees sat for examinations, despite being curbed repeatedly. Parents were left with no choice but to take the extraordinary measure of obstructing traffic. Since the parents' means were "extraordinary", they were certainly effective, yet those means were illegal, and even inhuman. Some of the parents [got used to being inhuman that they] said extremely nasty things with pride, "Go ahead! He would have died even if the medicine arrived in time!" Mencius said, “If one do not have the heart of compassion, one is not a human.” Everyone's life is priceless, all enjoy respect with no strings attached. Without such basic common sense or knowingly not complying with it, then how can these parents be qualified to educate children? I do not know what would the candidates from Dalian 41st Secondary School think when they heard about this. If all parents are showing the community such heartless and unjust behaviors, what kind of persons their children would become under the teaching of these parents? Can we see any patterns from this? The crux of the problem is that the education lots of the present day parents had was one that was defective, these parents do not know how to respect others, have little awareness of the law, and have no civil awareness. Since education is a cultural behavior that has continuity, a defective education affects not only those being educated, but also the next generation and beyond. Poor education produces poor parents, poor parents affect the next generation, and the next generation affects the generation to follow. With the defective education stay unchanged, this could go on indefinitely.
Objectively speaking, the elderly Jiang was an indirect victim of noise pollution. But if I were a family member of Jiang, I would certainly take to court these parents who blocked the traffic so that they would get their deserved punishment and thus draw the community’s attention to the law enforcement efforts in punishing noise pollution. On top of that, we could also pursue justice; contribute to a just law enforcement in the entire society, and promotion of awareness of civil law among citizens; and at the same time teach a practical lesson to parents of low moral quality. Furthermore, it is not just the parents that should receive real civil education, teachers, principals, education policy makers at all levels, and people from the whole of society should receive real civil education. Citizens should know their rights and obligations. They know not only how to protect their own rights, but also not to shrink from the obligations that they should fulfill. Behaviors that appear to be reasonable but in fact offend the constitution and the laws should definitely be punished.
If parents are not true citizens [that is, they have no civil awareness or take no notice of a citizen's rights and obligations], then they are not qualified parents and are not eligible to educate children. Likewise, if our education system does not produce students with civil awareness, then it is not genuinely a modern education system.
Written on June 30, 1999 in Chengdu